Meet The Warwick MBA Class Of 2019

Kristen Evelyn Rossi

Warwick Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Born in New York, built in Asia. 

Hometown:  Massapequa, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I came down with dengue fever whilst filming the 2004 tsunami movie, The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts.

Luckily, the film set was inside a local Thai hospital on Khao Lak.  I had a few lines opposite Naomi, but as I had to be hospitalized, we could not finish the scene and the lines were cut!

Undergraduate School and Major: BA in Theatre Arts from Point Park University, Pittsburgh USA.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Resident Jazz Singer at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Born in New York, at the age of 22 with 2 suitcases and a degree in Theatre Arts, I moved from NY to Bangkok.  I spent the next 10 years of my life making a niche for myself in the performing arts in Southeast/East Asia.

I am proud that I arrived in Bangkok as a “no-one” and when I left the city in December 2014 I was one of Thailand Tatler Magazine’s “top 300 expats” for the work I had done (Broadway Babe & Musical Theatre for KIDS).

Describe your biggest accomplishment at Warwick so far? Launching the campus radio show: The MBA Show.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Vibrant.

With students from 39 nationalities, at lunchtime it is inspiring to see the mix of people, Nigerian, Mexican, Jordanian, Thai, Indian, American, Kazak, British, all sitting around the table “breaking bread” and sharing ideas.

Everyone is open, curious and extremely driven. Every class, I feel pushed not only academically by my professors, but from my peers to do more and be better.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? There were several small factors combined, (discussed later) that led to my choosing WBS’ full-time MBA, but the key factor was quality.

With the interconnectivity and variety of MBA programs on offer, quantity of choice is not a problem, but finding quality is.

Your standard of quality is crucial as it reflects who you are and what you will become.

Above anything else, I decided if I was going to make the investment to “go back to school”, it would only be for a quality, world-class course.  WBS offers just that.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I can’t wait for the week-long study trip to Milan which is part of our Managing in a New World module.

The focus of the trip will be on luxury brand management and digitalization. As this is an industry I am looking at post-MBA, I am excited for the opportunity to study at Bocconi, another world-class institution. I look forward to visiting the operations of iconic brands and just get plugged into a city that is renowned for luxury…and quality.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The life of a resident singer for five-star hotels is wonderful, but at the same time, it required me to be constantly on the move (relocating every 3-6 months).

After a time, it also started to lack the intellectual stimulation that I needed. I am more than just an entertainer. As an expat, I created several small businesses and in my free time, I am interested in history, economics, and politics. I wanted to stretch my potential and formalize these other talents and interests with an MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? The only MBA program I applied to was Warwick, but I did consider both The Swiss Hotel Management School and Glion’s hospitality management programs.  I ended up not going forward with either as I wanted to give myself wider options.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? As mentioned above, in choosing to apply to Warwick my top priority was quality.

The factors that allowed me to evaluate quality included:

  1. Career Coaching. I am studying to gain knowledge, but the development of my career prospects are equally important.  The fact that WBS has CareersPlus and a well-connected corporate relations team was significant in my choice.
  2. Post-graduation support. The year goes so fast, WBS’ post-MBA mentorship programme carried weight in my final decision. I am independent and confident in the skills I am learning on the course, but I know I will still need support after September.
  3. Diversity. Having lived in Asia for 10 years and with the aim to return to the region post-MBA, I wanted to make sure the programme had a global cohort; connections are everything.
  4. Teaching quality and comprehensive core modules. As I do not have a formal business background, it was imperative that the programme is academically comprehensive.
  5. Warwick is a traditional “campus” university, but WBS also has a location at The Shard in London. Throughout the year I get “campus” life plus opportunities to network, attend guest lectures and take electives in London; the best of both worlds!
  6. CORE Values. I knew that Warwick was for me when I read their CORE values. Two of the four, curiosity and restlessness, are a big part of who I am.  I moved to Asia at 22 out of curiosity.  I am transitioning from what was a successful career as a performer into new territory, out of restlessness.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Moving to Bangkok on my own at the age of 22. It taught me that I can go anywhere in the world and I will be able to make friends and find a place for myself.

I am not afraid to start again and this gives me hope, confidence and provides a sense of freedom in the choices I make.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I am still deciding but I’m an entertainer at heart; I love serving people.  I see myself in a role that builds relationships in the luxury brand sector.

Built in Asia”, my aim is to return to Southeast Asia, either Vietnam or Thailand, after a bit of post-MBA experience in the UK.

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